Hibs defender Ryan Porteous backed to handle Pittodrie pressure following Jim Goodwin cheat claim

Jim Goodwin’s outburst in the wake of September’s defeat at Easter Road did not surprise the Hibs players but Nohan Kenneh insists the Aberdeen manager’s comments were well wide of the mark.

Hibs’ fightback from a one-goal deficit was kickstarted by the penalty won by Ryan Porteous, which also earned Liam Scales a second yellow card and Hibs a one-man advantage for the remainder of the encounter.

Clearly unhappy, the visiting boss accused the Scotland defender of cheating and while he has been punished for that, the damage to Porteous’ reputation, as he heads into tonight’s tussle for third spot, has been done, with the home crowd expected to make things hostile for a player who was sent off himself in his last trip to the city.

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“As a human being everyone is going to be affected. Yeah, but he’s going to handle that,” said the 23-year-old’s Easter Road team-mate, Kenneh. “He’s a good professional and has been in Scottish football long enough that he is used to the attention. For me, he has to focus on himself and try to help us win the game.

Hibs' Ryan Porteous and Nohan Kenneh. Photo by Ewan Bootman / SNS Group

“He does not really think too much about the outside noise or social media. I’m close to him and sit next to him and he does not like to focus on those things.

“To be fair, there was a lot of talk and media coverage and I don’t want to go too deep but I know Porto as a player and a person and I feel like there is a lot of misjudgement in how people see him. If you work with him day in and day out you know how good a professional he is and I feel like sometimes people don’t see that.

“I don’t think we were surprised [that Goodwin lashed out], he felt he needed to do that. For us it was about supporting our player.”

The evisceration of one of their own will fuel Hibs as they run out under the Pittodrie lights seeking only their second win there in over a decade as they try to press home their advantage in the ongoing scrimmage for third place.

“I feel like before the break we’re trying to gain momentum,” said midfielder Kenneh, whose ability to help protect his backline will be tested by an Aberdeen side who have been in prolific goalscoring form on their own turf this season.

But Hibs, too, have started to find greater consistency in their performances, with five wins in eight taking Lee Johnson’s men into third spot.

“We won our last game and will try to win this one,” added the former Leeds player, happy with the platform last weekend’s 3-1 triumph over St Mirren has given them. “For us as a team we need to build on last weekend.

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“I think they have pace up top, they are quite dynamic on the counter and we need to make sure on the transitions we know what we need to do.

“These games are six pointers and first and foremost we want to win the game, and so do they. For us these kind of games are pivotal. We know it will be difficult.”

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